Scariest Thing I Did in 2013 Was…

Workers Getting Ready to Harvest Honey from these Bee Hives
A Honey Bee Tries to Join the Crowd on the Bus
A Honey Bee Tries to Join the Crowd on the Bus

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve always loved that quote and wholeheartedly believe being a little scared brings out the best in a person but not sure if I’m on board for being scared everyday. With the end of 2013 I’m looking back and remembering an incredible year. I traveled to three continents – Europe (Ireland and France), South America and North America (exploring a bit of Ontario, Canada and the U.S.), met and reconnected with inspiring and good people (yes, YOU!), and emotionally grew by pushing personal boundaries.

What was the scariest thing I did?

Walking Across Toronto’s CN Tower’s Glass Floor Was Pretty Scary
Yet not the scariest thing, although a very, very close second. I’m not sure why I was afraid of a little glass coming between me and a 1,122-foot fall to the ground but I was. Really. Scared. Oh boy, I’m getting the heebie-jeebies thinking about it! Here, go read about it in this post.

Did I Tell Ya About the Flight to Dublin?
Well, one of the scariest events happened en route to Dublin, Ireland to attend the Travel Blog Exchange conference (TBEX) in October. I was nestled in my row, having it all to myself, when 20 minutes into the flight the Aer Lingus pilot said something to the effect of having engine trouble and needing to return to Chicago O’Hare. He added, “We should have a normal landing.”

Um, why wouldn’t we have a normal landing?

To Chicago we returned and I later learned an emergency ground crew consisting of fire engines and ambulances greeted our flight. So glad I didn’t see that! Better they realized the trouble 20 minutes out rather than somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. I was re-booked on the next flight and spent the entire time in a middle seat in the middle section. At least I was surrounded by good company.

As in Any City, Stay Alert and Aware of Your Surroundings, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As in Any City, Stay Alert and Aware of Your Surroundings, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Maybe a Third Time’s a Charm?
I made my second trip to Rio de Janeiro in May and maybe it’s because it was purely business but I just didn’t embrace the experience. I spent two nights in the city and although nothing bad happened, I let this Brazilian city’s reputation gnaw at my mind meaning I couldn’t relax. I also couldn’t relax because I was surprised with a very expensive tab for the function my organization hosted.

I saw celebrities walk the red carpet for the Brazil premier of The Hangover Part III but didn’t realize it until I used Google Translate to translate the Las Vegas-like marquis the next day. And, I was able to venture out of the city center into the wilderness with colleagues on my last day. I’m sure I’ll be heading south soon and maybe then I’ll relax and embrace the country, culture and experience. My stomach still hurts thinking about it.

Las Vegas with My Sister was a Blast, But…
We lived the glamorous M Life at the Bellagio for a couple of nights which was extremely lovely. For the third night we stayed off the Strip and headed to Fremont Street to see what all the hubbub was about. For all the times I’ve visited Vegas, I never took in the Fremont Street Experience and now I know why.

As my sister said, “It’s just gross.”

It wasn’t quite what we expected, although the deep-fried Oreos at Mermaid’s Casino were pretty tasty and on the cheap. The price was standing in line for 30 minutes or so in a smoky casino. Fremont Street isn’t a bad place to be, it’s just not the Strip.

Workers Getting Ready to Harvest Honey from these Bee Hives
Workers Getting Ready to Harvest Honey from these Bee Hives

The Scariest Thing I Did Was Walk Through Buzzing Honey Bees
For the job with benefits, I arranged for a small group of media to visit a working honey bee farm in Punta Gorda, Fla. When we arrived, the owner asked where our bee suits were. I thought he was joking. I mean, do you just head over to Sears and pick up bee suits off the rack?

He wasn’t kidding and seemed disappointed we came unprepared. Needless to say, the field trip was primarily conducted in the bus which was fine with everyone. Before proceeding through active bee territory, open cracks on the bus needed to be stuffed with paper towels in order to prevent the bees from entering. Doing this made me realize how serious this was.

Homes for Future Honey Bee Queens Being Made
Homes for Future Honey Bee Queens Being Made

Toward the end, where the bee activity was light, the owner offered anyone wanting to get off the bus to do so and enter a workshop to see how queen bees are made. There were two takers, Capt. Tommy Thompson who has Saltwater Angler’s Guides and me. I have to admit, there was an adrenaline rush pulsing through my body after I stepped off the bus and calmly walked to the workshop. Bees buzzed around me and I resisted the temptation to run while remembering to slowly breathe.

In the end, nothing bad happened and I learned how bees are significantly important to the health of our agriculture and society as a whole. I was also proud for pushing myself to make the walk. It was the most scariest thing I did in 2013.

The Beach Spa by Silhouetes Day Spa on Englewood Beach
The Beach Spa by Silhouetes Day Spa on Englewood Beach

And What Scary Thing is in Store for 2014?
Well, I’ve never had a full-body massage and I think 2014 is my year to finally give it a try. It’s not that I’m modest because I tossed aside my inhibitions and self-consciousness to bathe the Japanese way while in Japan almost 10 years ago. I also slipped into a snake-constricting-like thing to squeeze out some of my body fat during that same trip and recently experienced a deliciously delightful facial at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. I just don’t like the idea of some strange person rubbing all over me.

Indeed, 2014 will be my year to try a massage and it will be on Englewood Beach, Fla., with The Beach Spa by Silhouetes Day Spa. Oh yes, I’m going for bragging rights, too. This is probably the first of its kind in Florida because the day spa is not affiliated with a resort. The experience begins with meeting your massage therapist then going on a shell journey to find two to three shells which will be incorporated into the treatment. Sounds lovely, right? Even if some stranger is rubbing all over me.

As we say goodbye to 2013, thank you for reading, commenting and sharing these posts. I sincerely appreciate your encouragement and support. With that being said, what scary thing will you do in 2014?



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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